[Foundation-l] A PC instead of a VC

Geoffrey Plourde geo.plrd at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 7 19:29:26 UTC 2008

Mike, what if the Project/Community Council is informal? From what I remember, if you can't serve a entity, you can't sue it.

----- Original Message ----
From: Mike Godwin <mgodwin at wikimedia.org>
To: foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org
Sent: Monday, April 7, 2008 11:13:11 AM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] A PC instead of a VC

Danny writes:

>  While this seems at first a good idea, it leaves me wondering about
> liability. If this council represents the interests and needs of the  
> projects,  would
> its members then be ultimately responsible for the projects? If,  
> for  example,
> someone wants to sue the Bulgarian Wikipedia or the English  
> Wikinews, would
> they direct their efforts to the members of said council who  
> represent its
> "interests and needs"? The WMF has always claimed that it is not a  
> publisher
> and it is, therefore, not responsible for content. Would the same  
> defense hold
> true of a Project Council?
> Rather than speculate, I think Mr. Godwin should respond.

First, please don't call me "Mr. Godwin" -- makes me feel like I'm in  

Second, my response is also speculation, although it's legally well- 
informed, I think.

A plaintiff looking for someone to sue might well decide upon the  
Project Council as a defendant. Suing the Council would be hard if  
it's not a formal entity, but easy if it is one (e.g., if it's  
formally connected to the Foundation or independently incorporated).  
In all cases, individual members of the Project Council, whether it's  
an informal or formal entity, might be sued.

Would such a lawsuit succeed?  I can't tell on the basis of what I  
know now.  But I prefer a world in which it's both difficult to sue  
the Foundation and difficult (or unprofitable) to sue individual  
editors and contributors. Depending on how you define a "Program  
Council," the new entity might change that a bit.


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